FILM

British Shorts Berlin 2019
Serena Chloe Gardner
Blackout

Festival Screening 

Comedy / Fantasy / Animation / Drama

Sat 19.1. 22:00 / Sputnik Kino 1

Grace lives on a council estate with her mentally ill mother Cathy.

 

Hi Serena any nerves ahead of the festival?

 

Absolutely buckets of nerves!

 

How does it feel to be at the festival with Blackout? 

 

We've known about this festival for a very long time but never thought that we'd ever get in so we were delighted to have been chosen to screen Blackout at this year's festival. 

 

The response to Blackout has been amazing, what has it meant to you to get this type of reaction you've gotten for your film?

 

It has meant a lot to me that people are reacting to this film in a positive way as it highlights mental health issues as well as those who care for them. I really wanted to make a film that people could watch and relate to and feel like they aren't alone. A lot of people have now seen the film at festivals and have come up to me afterwards and said "that was me!" or "that was my mum" and its got people talking about the issues more openly now. 

 

Tell me a little bit about Blackout how did the film come about? 

 

I made Blackout because I grew up as a young carer looking after a parent with mental health issues. A lot of the time a young person is made to experience things way beyond their age and it can feel quite isolating dealing with these issues on their own. So I wanted to make a film so that all young carers (of people with all disabilities physical or mental) will know that they're not alone, that it will get better and being brave is sometimes the hardest thing to do. 

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What was the biggest challenge you faced bringing Blackout to life?

 

Funding tends to always be the biggest challenge especially with filming entirely in London, which can be expensive. Luckily we were successful in applying for funding from Film London and also raised money through a successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. 

 

Have you always been interested in filmmaking?

 

Oh yes, since I was a child I would always immerse myself in films, it helps you disappear off into another world for a while. 

 

What feeds your creativity?

 

Real lie stories feed my creativity mostly. I'm very interested in people and what makes them tick. I carry a notebook around and constantly observe the way people walk, talk, conversations between each other...I'm a big stalker haha!

 

How has your approach to your films changed since your debut short film?

 

Yes in some ways. With my first short film 'Lady in the Park' which was a period drama set in the 1960's, I think I was trying to pack too much into a short space of time. So with Blackout, I tried to let the scenes breathe more and carry more pace which I think has helped this film mature. 

 

As a filmmaker how important is the collaborative process for you? 

 

Extremely important. I trained for six years as an actor originally so collaboration is key to everything you do. You need each other to all be on the same page, all rooting for the same cause but also give each person acting or on crew the time and space to bring to the table their creative vision to help assist yours as a Director. Everyone will be much more invested in the film this way.

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Do you have any advice or tips for a fellow filmmaker?

Just get out there and do it. If you have an idea or a story, stop talking about it and get out there and make it. If you get stuck with finding money, locations actors etc ....there is always a way around it! If you really want to make something happen then you will!

 

What are you currently working on?

I'm currently working on a short documentary on heroin addiction. Travelling through the life of a lady who has suffered with addiction from the age of 15 to 69. 

It's a fascinating story and one I can't wait to share!

 

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from this film?

I would like to encourage people to talk more about mental health issues and to notice if you see a child struggling to cope with family issues at home to do something, anything really even if it's just a chat. It can make the world of a difference to someone's life.